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Dragon. Naga


East Borneo
Benuaq Dayak
Wood, pigments, patina
86 × 34 × 7 cm
Contact for Price
Inv. BO.06.012

Sculpture representing a naga head, which was the main part of a suspended altar, used in purification and healing ceremonies.

Like other mythological beings of Dayak cosmologies, the naga displays a large, open mouth, its fangs exposed to evoke its potency. On its back a design of spiralling leaves represents the characteristic pointy scales. A formally similar sculpture to this is shown in Hornbill and Dragon (pp. 421-422), while an important reference for its distinctive decorative style, in which a lotus flower stands for an eye, can be found in a naga of the Brignoni Collection, published in Patong (pp. 32-33).

This sculpture expresses a refined taste for composition, culminating in the remarkable lotus flower, which is rarely found in such representations. This naga is also very interesting for the two different profiles carved on its head, fierce on one side and mild on the other, apparently suggesting the duality of life watched over by the mythological being.

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